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Kerala: 9 school kids killed in road mishap

December 04, 2008 23:19 IST
Last Updated: December 04, 2008 23:38 IST


Nine home-bound children of a primary school, eight of them girls, were killed and 11 injured when a van ran over them near Irikkur, about 22 km from Kannur, on Thursday, police said.

The incident occurred at around 1630 hours when the students of the Irikkur Narayana Vilasam Lower Primary School were returning home after school, they said.

The dead have been identified as Sajna (5), Mithuna (5), Ramshana (6), Nandana (6), Anushree (8), Sneha (8), Santra (8), Sona (7).

The body of a boy has not been identified.

Police said 14 school bags were found strewn at the spot. The van driver was taken into custody.

According to the version given by the driver, he lost control of the vehicle when a student suddenly ran on the middle of the road to pick up his slippers, police said.

A large number of people gathered at the A K G Hospital premises, which witnessed heart-rending scenes with parents identifying the bodies.

Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan expressed shock and sorrow at the tragedy.

The tragedy is the biggest accident in Kerala [Images] involving kids after the Thattekat boat capsize in 2007, which claimed the lives of 15 picnicking children and three teachers. A creaky overcrowded boat cruising in a lake at Thattekat in Ernakulam district capsized and caused the tragedy last year.

Meanwhile, parents waiting for their children back home were shell shocked to know that their dear ones had been killed.

The accident comes in the wake of the state grappling with the unusually large number of accidents taking place on its roads.

Reckless and drunken driving, over-speeding vehicles and poor road conditions are said to be the major factors contributing to accidents, claiming a large number of lives.

An inquiry into the boat tragedy found that the vessel was not in a proper condition and had taken in much more persons that its capacity allowed. The inquiry was instituted by the government and the vessel's driver was sentenced to five years imprisonment.

The water tragedy had prompted the government to issue guidelines to be followed while taking out children for excursions.

Meanwhile, the bodies of children were shifted to the nearby Pariyaram Medical College Hospital for post-mortem. State Transport Minister Mathew T Thomas and Health Minister P K Sreemathi will reach Kannur on Friday to take stock of the situation.

Official sources said that Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishan has asked the DGP to institute a high-level probe into the incident.




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